SCHOTT Breaks Ground for Solar Plant in New Mexico

March 4, 2008
Plant will produce both photovoltaic modules and receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants.

Located in the Mesa del Sol region of Albuquerque, N.M., the new manufacturing facility owned by SCHOTT Solar, Inc. will produce both photovoltaic (PV) modules and receivers for concentrated solar thermal power plants (CSP). Production is expected to begin as early as spring 2009.

Initially, the company will construct a 200,000 square-foot facility, which will employ 350 people. Long term plans call for the building to expand to 800,000 square feet with employment reaching 1,500 people, representing a total investment of $500 million.

In March 2009, the first receiver, a critical component for concentrated solar power plants is expected to be available for sale. The PTR-70 receivers represent the latest in technological advancements for the surging CSP industry. The receiver contains an outer "envelope" glass tube which has an anti-reflective coating. Inside, in an evacuated, sealed environment, is a steel tube covered by an absorptive coating. It is inside this steel tube that a heat transfer fluid (HTF) flows when heated by the sun. This fluid, when heated by the sun, is then used to turn water into steam, which drives a turbine, generating electricity.

In April 2009, the first photovoltaic panel manufactured for sale is scheduled to roll off the production line. The 220-watt single-pane PV panel will be similar to products produced at the company's European manufacturing facilities. The Albuquerque site will have an initial annual production capacity of 64MW of PV panels. Additional PV manufacturing lines will be added to the facility to meet market demand.

"SCHOTT Solar is committed to creating stable jobs with competitive pay and benefits for Albuquerque," said Mark Finocchario, President and CEO of SCHOTT Solar, Inc. "Our mission is to become an employer of choice within the region." The company is working with the New Mexico and Albuquerque Economic Development Departments to develop a training and recruitment program.

SCHOTT AG is located in Mainz, Germany. In North America, SCHOTT's holding company SCHOTT Corp. and its subsidiary SCHOTT North America, Inc. and their affiliates employ about 2,500 people in 10 production operations.

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